The Gift Of Hosting A Circle

Posted by Dustin Harber on Aug 9, 2018
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On Tuesday, a dream finally came true: after over two years of inspiration sitting in the “heartquarters” of Harshida Auntie and Dinesh Uncle’s house on so many Wednesdays, I got the privilege to host my own circle and watch the magic of holding space emerge in my own house.

So many wonderful souls in Servicespace had planted seeds for this to be possible, and the cushions were no exception. Having sewn some cushions for her own circle, I was greatly laddered by Helen to create some for mine. What a learning experience it was -- I hadn’t touched a sewing machine since seventh grade! She graciously taught me how to cut out fabric and sew the cushions in her home. We had lots of fun laughing when I cut and sewed a few pieces a little too unevenly and when I dumped the contents of a filled bag on the floor more than once. :)

I learned something great with the cushions: when you don’t have buckwheat husks, there is a fantastic alternative! We decided to fill them with an economical choice of rice, beans, and scraps of fabric. The mixture turned out to be a surprisingly comfortable sitting surface. Helen and I now have a beautiful shared set of cushions for both of our circles.

As the night of the circle got closer, some tension creeped in as I wondered what my invitees, many of whom had never meditated, would think of the experience and how the night would unfold. Will people make it all the way through the first hour? Will people will comfortable enough to share? The tension really picked up the morning of the circle when it was time to cook -- I’d never cooked for that many people by myself. My inner balance succumbed to some harried moments here and there, but I restored it every time I remembered the very last sentence of the Awakin Circle opener guide: everything in the circle is a gift.

Sure enough, everyone sat for the meditation hour and the practice delivered: I paused for a moment to start heating the food in the kitchen before the hour of sharing when I heard a few comments from the circle about how glad people were to have sat through the whole hour and how peaceful they felt. After a beautiful reading of a passage about vulnerability, Helen generously opened the circle by sharing her experience of vulnerability with her mother and with an unlikely acquaintance.

What happened next is so difficult to put into words. My mouth practically fell open as the lavender bouquet “mic” got passed around the circle: a range of people in my life, including my landlord, a former co-worker, and decades-long friends, all opened up and shared personal stories about vulnerability. I was so awestruck that holding space on my tiny guest bedroom floor could bring out so much from a group of people who largely didn’t know each other beforehand. All my little anxieties about hosting had melted away after witnessing the effort coming to fruition: connection had emerged.

The circle of sharing then morphed into a circle of eating: we all sat around the dining room table in another circle and continued to share stories about family relationship difficulties, various life traumas, individual healing journeys, and lots of wisdom nuggets. I can’t remember the last time I had such a nourishing conversation with a big group at my own dinner table.

I’ve been inspired at so many Awakin Circles over the years, but the feeling you get of facilitating one in your own house is something completely different. There’s just something incredible about watching the magic permeate your house and soak into the walls. It turns your house into a home -- a home both for you and for your community.



I’m smiling with gratitude at the years of seeds Servicespace planted in me to bring me to this moment. This is the just the start of many more “Santa Clara North” circles to come.

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Comments (4)

  • Mia Tagano wrote ...

    Oh Dustin, what a beautiful heartwarming vulnerable and loving share - brought tears to my eyes!

  • Audrey Lin wrote ...

    Soooo amazinggg to read this, Dustin! :-) And you sewed your own cushions, too?! That's really a labor-of-love!

  • Trishna Shah wrote ...

    Wonderful to hear your journey of planting seeds to hold space in your home and in your heart, thanks for sharing.

  • Harshida auntie wrote ...

    Wow! Thanks for hosting; supporting journeys and for sharing Dustin!